Otis Nelson found guilty of 2017 Huntsville murder

Man convicted of 2017 Huntsville murder

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WAFF) - UPDATE: After four years of delays, a Madison County jury found Otis Nelson guilty of murder.

In November 2017, Nelson killed his girlfriend, 44-year-old Mary Ann Washington. Friday afternoon, Nelson was taken into custody.

The family of Mary Ann Washington was relieved when the verdict was read. They said, finally, they can get some closure. Washington was killed inside her Northwest Huntsville Home. Her then 13-year-old son found her body.

The Madison County coroner said in 2017, Washington died by strangulation. The trial was pushed back multiple times due to technicalities and the pandemic.

On Friday, the family was too emotional to speak with us on camera but the prosecutor believes Mary Ann Washington has finally received justice. Nelson was escorted from the courthouse and is now in the Madison County jail.

His sentencing is set for early June.

This is a breaking update. You can read previous information on Nelson’s trial below.


Madison County murder suspect is going on trial after waiting four years, but now WAFF is learning the defense attorney filed a motion for a mistrial in the case.

Otis Nelson is accused of killing 44-year-old Mary Washington in November of 2017.

According to court filings, while leaving court on April 19, the son of the victim drove by the defendant, Nelson, and pointed a gun at him and threatened him. Court filings said it happened in front of a juror.

The defense team filed this motion at 4 a.m. Tuesday. The judge heard the motion and dismissed it.

The trial continued Tuesday.

We heard emotional testimony from Washington’s cousin, brother, and 17-year-old son.

A crime scene investigator testified a knife, bloody clothes, and blood splatter were found inside Washington’s home the night of the murder. The investigator showed the jury blood stained clothes and cotton swabs collected the night the victim died.

The defense argued none of the blood or finger prints in the house were tested, or match the defendants.

In 2017, The Madison County Coroner said Washington died by strangulation.

We learned from witnesses, the day before Washington was found dead she was allegedly involved in a fight with Nelson.

Her family said they were all at a party and Nelson wanted to leave, when Washington wanted to stay he allegedly smacked her in the head and verbally abused her. Nelson eventually left the party. Witnesses said Washington eventually wanted to go home. Her family drove her home where Nelson was also living.

Another fight occurred between the defendant and a family member.

That night, family left Washington at her house with Nelson. Washington was found dead the next morning.

The defense argued asked why no one called 911 about the fights or Nelson hitting Washington. Witnesses told the court they didn’t want to escalate the situation.

The trial will continue Wednesday. We expect to hear from the defense witnesses including Otis Nelson, sometime this week.

Jury trial selected for Madison County murder trial

ORIGINAL: After four years, a Madison County murder suspect is finally going on trial. Otis Nelson is accused of killing 44-year-old Mary Washington in November of 2017.

On April 19, the 12 men & women who will serve on the jury were selected. The morning began with the attorneys questioning whether newly discovered evidence should be entered.

The defense argued they have located and mapped out a handheld GPS that proves the defendant, Otis Nelson, was not in Huntsville during the time of the murder, they say the GPS proves he was in Mississippi.

The prosecution argued by entering that evidence, it discredits the victim’s son who is expected to testify.

The then 13-year-old said he saw Nelson’s vehicle at his house the morning of the murder. A judge has agreed to allow the GPS evidence to be presented to the jury.

WAFF will be in the courtroom and will bring you the updates as the trial begins its first full day of testimony.

We expect to have a verdict by the end of this week.

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